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Paradise Lost

March 20th, 2010 by Bruce Wiseman

It’s the kind of tropical island you envision when you think of paradise.

White sandy beaches. Water so pristine it laps at the shores like liquid topaz. Lush, verdant foliage that blankets a nearby mountain where parrots in brilliant, multi-colored plumage await a Kodak moment.

And then the invasion starts.

Charging out of the rain forest at the bottom of the mountain are dozens of gorgeous young women in bikinis.

Cut to a semi-nerdy guy in a bathing suit standing on the beach spritzing himself with a bottle of we don’t know what.

Back to the babes, whose numbers are growing as they charge senor nerd like it’s the first day of the  semi-annual Nordstrom’s Sale. The camera pans to the other side of our hero where another contingent of bikini-clad marauders are stampeding across the sands from the other direction.

Okay. They have my attention. It’s an ad for some kind of men’s cologne I figure, but the girls, now numbering a hundred or so, are making a fashion statement that those of us concerned with matters of…eh…style cannot possibly ignore.

They have reached him now. Our guy is surrounded by swarms of beautiful women. The camera switches to the viewpoint of the guy, whose vision is blurry. He puts on a pair of glasses. His vision sharpens only to see the girls frowning at him now. Some are disgusted.

They all turn and walk away as the screen displays the message that he “Should have gone to Specsavers.”

Specsavers is a discount vision chain and the glasses the guy put on were dorky, not, we assume, from Specsavers. Of note, this ad is a takeoff of a similar commercial for a deodorant (Lynx) of a few years earlier.

But here’s the deal: The Lynx commercial ends with the guy getting the girls. The deodorant attracts the women and they stay. The guy is in seventh heaven.

The Specsaver commercial ends on a loss. The women are  disgusted and have turned away from him; our hero is bummed out. Yet, the creators of this advertisement think that this toxic ending will motivate viewers to want to buy the brand of glasses that the guy isn’t wearing.

Are they brain dead?

Why in the world would you associate your brand with a loss? The commercial must have cost some serious coin: it was shot in Columbia and there were 100 bikini-qualified gals in this spot. (My heart goes out to the poor casting director.)

But, you get my point. They transport more than 100 cast and crew members to South America and shoot a commercial that associates the sponsor’s brand with…paradise lost.

The company’s marketing director should be water-boarded with the spray the nerd was using on the beach.

Let’s take a quick look at something that is much simpler, costs next to nothing and communicates a message instantly.

It’s a print ad.  A picture of a french fry, one end of which is charred to a crisp and smoking. In the corner of the ad is the familiar Heinz label which says “Hot Ketchup”.

A piece of simple marketing brilliance, says I.

A good ad does not tell the message, (He should have gone to Specsavers) it shows it, (burnt French fry); the visual delivers the message in an instant.

That said, the good, the bad and the ugly are not always this obvious.

Sometimes a professional eye can help polish the message and increase the response. On Target assists companies to fine tune their marketing so that it sings to their customers like Tony Bennett on a summer night in Central Park

We bring 25 years of marketing and PR expertise to a review of your marketing materials, websites, and proposed press releases for their ability to communicate to your public and drive sales and income.

This service is fast, dreadfully inexpensive and will help ensure that your marketing materials are doing their job – creating interest and reach for your product or service.

Call or email if we can be of service.


Bruce Wiseman
President & CEO
On Target Research